True Crime On This Day January 23rd

True Crime On This Day January 23rd

January 23rd

On January 23rd in true crime, Vampire of Sacramento, parrot witness, Hollywood tax evasion, murder, serial killer, robbery, and missing person.


Richard Trenton Chase, AKA: the Vampire of Sacramento, broke into a house and shot dead three-months pregnant, Teresa Wallin.

He then engaged in necrophilia with her corpse while constantly stabbing her with a butcher’s knife. Chase would go on to become one of America’s most notorious serial killers. He killed a total of six people from late 1977 to early 1978.

On the same day

In Paris, Franco-Belgian industrialist Baron Edouard-Jean Empain was abducted in broad daylight in front of his Paris apartment. He was held hostage for 63 days at a hideaway in a Paris suburb.

He was starved, beaten and tortured for a ransom of 80-million Francs (Approx $14million USD). After his release, he retreated from business and passed away peacefully in 2018.


In Denmark, for the first time in known history, a parrot was questioned as a witness in a robbery. The bird was one of 13 parrots and 30 budgerigars that had been stolen from a pet shop in Copenhagen.

The parrot told police that it was one of the stolen parrots and even identified itself along with the name of its owner. Police said the bird was an excellent witness.

On the same day

Movie star Sophia Loren was tried in court for tax evasion and was tried in absentia, meaning she was not required to be at the court.

She was acquitted but her husband, Carlo Ponti, was sentenced to four years in prison for tax evasion and the illegal import of Italian funds and artwork.


In Philadelphia, police officers responded to a call of unrest at an apartment block on West Logan Street. When they entered the third-floor apartment, they discovered 51-year-old Edward Gathright laying on his bed with a gunshot wound to the head.

He was immediately taken to hospital where he died of his wound shortly after. Despite witnesses and leads, no suspect was ever found.

Gathright’s murder remains unsolved and an active cold case in the city of Philadelphia.


In California, rapist and serial killer Darrell Keith Rich, known as the Young Elk or Hilltop Rapist, was sentenced to death for the murders of four young women in 1978.

Between June and August, he struck fear into the hearts of residents of Shasta County. He first killed 19-year-old Annette Fay Edwards. After a failed attempt at having sex with her, he beat her to death with a rock.

17-year-old Patricia Ann Moore was picked up and driven to a remote area, where she was raped and then beaten to death in a similar fashion.

26-year-old Linda Diane Slavik was picked up and driven to Darrell’s home where she was raped and beaten. He then drove her to a remote wooded area and shot her dead. Before she was killed, Darrell showed her the body of Moore, who was decomposing nearby.

His final victim was 11-year-old Annette Lynn Selix who was abducted and taken to his home where he raped and tortured her.

After almost a day of abuse, and still alive, he took her battered body to Johns Creek Bridge and threw her over the edge. She landed on the rocks, 100 feet below, and was killed instantly. During the murders, he also raped at least another four women.

He was arrested after he confessed to a friend. Darrell was sentenced to death on this day in 1981 and executed by lethal injection in California on March 15th 2000.


In San Francisco, two days after kidnapping and raping a young girl known only as Kay, Fredrick Steven Trudell and his friend Robert Carls Huie, robbed a jewellery store and made off with a large amount of items and cash.

A large investigation began but it didn’t put off the pair who later kidnapped and raped a 14-year-old girl at gunpoint on March 22nd 1982.

They were both arrested shortly after and convicted of kidnapping, rape, and burglary. Trudell was sentenced to 21 years in prison and Huie was sentenced to 20 years.


In Ventura, California, 64-year-old Pershing Allen Lewis vanished without a trace. He was last seen leaving his home in the early hours and was never seen again.

He had relatives in Michigan at the time of his disappearance but he never contacted them. He was known to have had a tattoo of a ship on his left forearm. No trace of Lewis has ever been found.

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